Sunday’s Patriot League title game victory offered a glimpse of the importance of Tim Paul to Navy’s offense.
The attackman – who ran some in the midfield during the PL tournament – scored early in the fourth quarter despite limited playing time because of a high ankle sprain suffered April 3 against Maryland.
While the Midshipmen (11-4) did pretty well without Paul, their chances of creating headaches in the postseason are closely tied to adding him back to their offense. Navy didn’t score more than 10 goals in defeats of Georgetown, Maryland, Army, Colgate and Bucknell.
Of course, for the season, Navy surpassed 10 only twice – against VMI and Lafayette, which aren’t exactly powerhouses.
Still, Paul is probably the Mids’ best offensive talent. And while the task of taking exams at the academy isn’t fun, it does provide even more physical rest as Navy awaits its NCAA tournament pairing on Sunday night.
“The trainer says the more rest he gets, the he’s going to get every day,” coach Richie Meade said. “He was pretty close over the weekend. It’s just that he had some takeoff and landing issues with the weight-bearing issue. He’s been working hard at it. He’s going to be better than he was last week. Two weeks later – five weeks out from the injury – that’s a pretty good time-frame for that sort of injury.”
Meade, by the way, was probably the coach I talked to this week least interested in discussing potential tournament destinations. No surprise there, since Meade is the sort to expend most of his energy worrying about only his team.
Besides, the most logical destinations for Navy are Duke, Hopkins, North Carolina and Virginia. The Mids played two of them (Hopkins and Carolina) and scrimmaged another (Virginia). Chances are good they’ll get paired with a fairly familiar opponent.